Six Top Tips for the Perfect Self Tape
Updated: Dec 8, 2020
There’s so much confusing and contradictory information out there on how to record the perfect self-tape, or the ideal scene. So we decided to draw up our six most important tips on how to make the perfect self-tape or scene for Flairbox. We’ve also thrown in three key things to avoid, given the feedback we've heard from casting directors in the past!
Time and again, casting directors recommend you improve your videos with better lighting. The key here is to make sure your eyes are clearly visible.
Not only does this allow the casting director to see exactly what you are feeling, but it also stops the age-old actor's curse of doing too much. You won’t need to ‘show’ what your character is feeling, you can simply be them and let the casting director see it in your eyes.
Natural light from a window is the easiest source of high-quality light. Alternatively, try a simple LED light like Neewer CN160, and a softbox - both of which you can pick up for £30 online. Soft lights are always better as they reduce shadows, which are a distraction from you, your face, and your acting.
It's simple, this one: there should be nothing distracting in your background. Neutral colours, ideally white or grey, are your best bet.
If you don’t have a neutral-coloured wall, get yourself a sheet of paper or curtain (you can even use a bedsheet - but iron out the creases beforehand) that you can hang on the wall behind you.
3. Length of Video
Two minutes is the ideal length, according to casting directors. This gives them enough time to see if they like your tape. Casting directors are busy people - and as much as they’d love to, they don’t have time to watch a long tape from every single actor they see.
The maximum length of video you can upload on FlairBox is 3 minutes - so we've made it nice and easy for you to keep things short and sweet.
4. Camera & Sound
Always, always film in landscape. The latest smartphones all have incredible cameras that'll do the job just fine, but if you do want to get a digital camera, you can get a one that's good enough for only £150 - £250.
In an ideal world, you'd get yourself a mic to make the sound crystal clear. If you listen back to your recordings and you feel your voice is muffled and dulled, a mic will help enhance this vital part of your self-tape.
However, if you can stay nice and close to your camera - which we'd recommend anyway to show off your flair - most modern smartphones and digital cameras should pick up your voice just fine.
Even if it’s just a tiny, cheap one that you pop on top of a table or stack of books, a tripod will help you get the perfect angle for your recording.
They cost less than £10 - and you’re putting yourself at a huge disadvantage without one. You don’t want your tape to be filmed off-tilt, distracting from your performance and making you look slap-dash and unprofessional.
Variation is key. On FlairBox, you have 10 videos to showcase the very best of your acting ability. You shouldn't need more than that to prove your talent and underscore your versatility.
These videos can be as a monologue in your bedroom, or as exciting as your previous work in TV, films, commercials, or independent productions. Push your boundaries so that you include a range from comedy through to drama.
Remember, the joy of FlairBox is that you can perform proudly upon our digital stage - attracting the attention of leading casting professionals. You can always upload new videos to replace your old ones, which means you can constantly improve and update your scenes as you develp as an actor.
THINGS TO AVOID
Flairbox is a creative community for actors - but it’s also a professional community designed to get you cast. That means there has to be a few rules:
No scenes containing graphic violence.
No graphic scenes of a sexual nature.
You are also responsible for making sure that you have the copyright to upload the scene that you have recorded. We reserve the right to remove any video from the platform.
It's that simple. Be respectful, use your common sense, and remember that it's casting professionals you're looking to cater your videos towards. They're looking for hidden gems and diamonds in the rough - not graphic or unsettling videos.
Elliot & Rob.